Chapter 12 - Alive
Alice whimpered slightly and turned her head. And then suddenly she sat bolt upright, panting as though she had been running rather than sleeping.
“It’s okay.” Mira said, dropping the poultice that she was making and rushing to her side.
Alice shook her head slightly as though she was trying to shake something from it. And then she looked at Fain.
“Hi.” He said quietly.
“Hi.” She said back. He got up and moved to sit beside her on the bed and Mira looked between them and smiled.
“I’ll just leave you to it.” She said before curtseying and disappearing out of the tent.
Alice looked at him unsure of what to say. It felt like there was a whole chasm between them, an emptiness that she didn’t know how to fill. And she knew she was responsible. She had created it.
“You fought well today.” He said and she rolled her eyes. “What?”
“That’s what you want to say?” She said quietly.
“What else would you have me say?”
“I don’t know.” She replied looking away.
“I thought you had drowned. We all did.” He said after a few moments. “The Spectral pulled you down and…” He fell silent.
“I thought I was drowning too.” She said meeting his eye. “But then something worse happened.”
“Worse than drowning?”
She shook her head and looked away. “I can’t explain it. I need to talk to Jelric.” She shrugged.
“He’s with the High King now. And King Calin.”
Alice looked back at him. “Have they spoken? Is it over? This war between them?”
“It is over. You were right, it was the Witches that started it.” He said.
“At least I was right about something.” She muttered leaning back.
She looked at him and gritted her teeth.
“How mad is he?” She asked not sure if she wanted to know the answer.
“Pretty mad.” He replied.
“Will he collar me?” She half whispered it.
“Perhaps.” Fain said honestly and she nodded, shutting her eyes as she felt them start to well despite her best efforts.
“I was trying to save you.” She whispered.
“I know.” He said. “But I can’t stop this. I can’t stop him if that’s what he chooses to do.”
She nodded looking away and feeling the tears start to run down her face. The thought of wearing a collar, of being bound by one, she could feel herself trembling. She’d no longer have any freedom. She really would be his possession then. Fain pulled her into him and held her.